Monday Motivation: Short Week We Got This

So let’s be grateful! We have a short week for most of us. I know there are many who don’t and I sympathize with you. This week for many who have a short can find it to be super trying, so be vigilant.

Thanksgiving is going down this week whether we like it or not. So with that being said, take things in stride. I have been encouraging that with each Thanksgiving post. Not everyone comes from a solid family structure. This can be the most loneliness time of the year. This is the signal that the weeks are going to fly into the New Year. It’s important that you keep this in mind as you meet up with family and friends. Keep your wits about you when you are confronted with difficult family. Do what’s best for you!

Also the kids are home! Thank goodness you will have some leftovers to feed them! Make some activities for them to do. Have them spend time with family. Take them to the movies. Find activities for them to do. Do not let them break you. I have 3 kids and with the days off I got so much planned for them. I love spending time with them! This short week I will get my fill of their time!!

If you’re off make that time well spent. Find an activity that you enjoy. Serve others. Go through your clothes and find things you don’t need anymore that could bless someone who is less fortunate. Spend time with your family away from social media and find ways to be active!! Spend time doing some awesome me time things too. I hate when you walk back in the office and people say they did nothing and they actually wanted to do things but didn’t. Come back from a few days off refreshed!!

Also deadlines are going to be the name of the game. Have you ever noticed that when it’s a short week work seems to get longer?! Ugh right?! Use the time to get things in line and push through! You got this? We got this! Let’s enjoy what we can of this Thanksgiving week! Enjoy!!

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What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

Keep your Thanksgiving Wits

So this is the last weekend before Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that the grocery stores will be super crowded. So take your patience with you as you travel out. Between stores and traffic it will be a testing time.

Prepare for the holidays with more than what you will eat. Think about who you will invite and if you can find it in your heart to give towards others who may not be as fortunate. Think about ways you and your family can assist others either by donating food to food banks, volunteering to serve meals to others on Thanksgiving morning, or finding a family to sponsor. Either way let’s open our hearts to one another.

Another way to get ready for the holidays when going to the grocery store is to go with a list. I would attempt to get all that you need and treat it as if it was the day. This will help you to make those trips and you may find it may take more than one.  You will always need extra milk, eggs, and butter. So stack up early. I for one know that I need to get the list going so I don’t forget the key items. Thanksgiving eve is not the time to go to the store. All of the last-minute folks will be on super edge. Avoid them if you can.

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Also think if you are doing a fancy seating chart, how you want things decorated and who will sit where. Also don’t forget about the kids. It’s best to have activities to keep the littles occupied.  This will save from the necessary meltdowns. If you are having dinner at a specific time and you know you are the late type person, have appetizers for others to enjoy while they wait. It’s super annoying to go to someone’s house, arrive on time, and they still making key dishes and they have ZERO snacks. Think about your guest and have good appetizers as well as great drinks.  Trust me you will be the hostess with the mostest if you have the necessary food in place.

If you can’t cook let me stress this isn’t the time to train. You should have been practicing all year-long but not today. Today is the day you stick to the things you do well. Maybe that means you should bring the wine.  Either way don’t be out here telling folks you got a speciality dish and your food ain’t hitting. I don’t know about you but the way my family is set up, you getting clowned. Stick to what you know and stick to the basics. If you have kids also bring them extra activities. Not all host will keep your children entertained although they should if they invited guests with kids. Even with our kids being a little older, we come prepared with extra outfits, entertainment, and we have a code word if we think things are getting out of hand. We have a code word between my husband and I for everywhere that we go. We use this word if one of us is ready to go or something is happening that is too much. This has been our saving grace.

If you go to someone’s home bring something. I always try to bring something. Like the times we go to my mom’s house. I bring a dessert, something. I have 5 folks in my home. There’s no way I am coming to someone’s home squad deep with nothing in my hand. Unless the person insists, bring a dish. Or even bring a bottle to share. That is always a gift. If the person of whom you are going doesn’t drink, make a non alcoholic drink that is festive to share. There are ways around no alcohol. Get on Pintrest, online, anything and make it special.

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Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Think about what you are going to wear. Some people wing it and that is fine, but if you want to be dressed up, make sure you have your outfit together. My uncle doesn’t require fancy attire so unless I get the kids Thanksgiving shirts, I just stick to being comfortable.  If your gathering is requiring more formal affair, be cute and comfy. Do not over do it and especially with kids. They are going to get dirty. They are going to play. They do not ever care about dressed and dress shoes. So go into the situation knowing that and always bring a back up outfit for them so when the pictures are done being taken you can move along and enjoy your day!

Above all be grateful for what you have. Think about the day and what it is all about. More than prepping food, it is about making sure that you spend it with those you love. It’s about being grateful for all advancements that we have. It’s about sitting around the table enjoying one another’s company. So enjoy as you prepare it doesn’t have to be filled with stress! Don’t forget to call your loved ones who couldn’t be with you on the day as well and tell them you love them!

National Make A Difference Day

How can you make a difference? This is such an open-ended question. We always have a tenacity to go to what we don’t have before we answer. You start listing all of the things you aren’t before you can just simply find ways to be the difference in someone else’s lives.

Whatever gifts and talents that are inside of you is more than enough to make a difference. Here are a few ways you can give back and make a difference:

 

Home Life

One charity starts at home. I hate to see people who are super bomb to everyone around them except their own family. I hate to see it with parents who go out and win everyone else’s child but ignore the issues with their own. I hate to see husbands and wives flex on social media but behind closed doors, give silent treatments and ignore the needs of their spouse. We all have to do better.

  • Spend more time with your children. Yes you work to provide. Provision is responsibility. Taking time away from your phone, to sing a song, or play one of their games, or sit and ask them what they like and what’s bothering them makes a difference for a child. Try it some time.
  • Love on your mate. Whether it’s a boo, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, take some time and spend it on them. Yes gifts are great, but how about watch one of their shows actively with them. How about talk and make sure the air is clear? You can also make a dessert together. These are inexpensive ways to show the ones you love that you are one with them.
  • Check in on loved ones. We say we love folks but the only time we check in on them is if we have the tea about another family member. Change that. Call and ask if all is well and mean it. Than when you find out it’s not if you can help, help. Also unless someone told you to tell another person, build trust and just listen and not take their issues to another family member so you “can pray about it.”

Work Life

  • Show up and be on time ready to work. That’s a ministry all in itself.
  • Don’t be apart of the office gossip-remember the same lips bringing you the tea, is the same one taking your tea to stir at another pot on you
  • Be the change in the office you want to see
  • If the job no longer serves you, don’t stay get an exit plan. This may take time, but be proactive in leaving
  • Find ways to be more productive even if that means changing the scenery. When work starts to get to me sometimes I redecorate to fit a new mood. It helps me about 60% of the time

Social Media Life

  • Don’t go back and forth with them……. (in my Lil Duval voice) if you find yourself having to respond to more than one comment just stop. You aren’t going to win an argument on social media with trolls
  • Be who you post to be. Yeah that’s right. Align your social media to reflect who you are. On my social media I highlight me as a mom and wife. I don’t create doors to let anyone think they have space to slide in the DM. They do but at that point they just are trying to do the most.
  • Make sure you don’t do subliminal post. This is hard even for me at times. You see a post and it speaks to you but post it cause it spoke to YOU. You can’t be out here taking shots at folks you don’t even @

 

We all have things that we can give to the world. I came across a young lady on social media that is a hair dresser and she feeds the homeless. This is her life work. She literally gets out there with the folks that many would snub their noses at, and she feeds them and cleans them up and does their hair. She has a whole team of folks that assist her. Think about how her being there does for them. She treats them with dignity and respect. I know if I was down and out the last thing I would want is someone kicking me when I was done. What about those who raise money for others?  They are making a difference in the causes by which they are raising it for. How about those who set up camps at the bus stops for kids to make sure all of the kids have breakfast. You don’t know what someone may be going through at home. Everybody ain’t sitting at home collecting checks. Some middle class folks work everyday and still can’t make ends meet. How about the men who go into the community to pray over the city. There are a few groups here in Philadelphia who do it consistently. What can you do? Whatever gift is inside of you can help make a difference.

I said it before but around thanksgiving I see so many companies give back to others and it warms my heart. If you cut hair, how about offer your services to people who can’t afford to maintain their cuts on a regular basis? If you are a financial planner, offer your services to a few families for free to get them out of debt?  The sky is the limit. Whatever you do, do it well. Someone needs the very thing you have and complain about. Make a difference today and everyday!

 

Thanksgiving 2017: Break a Few Rules

So I really do hope everyone survived Thanksgiving especially for the readers that asked for advice. Not everyone was surrounded by love sometimes they are surrounded by dysfunctional family or friends and getting through may have been the only goal. However you spent it I hope you made the best of it.

I did a bunch of running around even though I had gotten off work early on Wednesday. Once home I started straight into cooking. Growing up my mom always cooked no matter who’s house we were set to visit. One reason is so we could always have our own personal dinner and get together and two so we could have them good left overs the day after. I kind of liked this tradition and I do the same.

So after the preparing and cooking, on Thanksgiving we decided to pull rank and do our own thing. We ate dinner for breakfast. I know a lot of folks do this the day after but we did it on Thanksgiving morning. It was fun, good and we did it while we watched the Macy Day Parade. Talk about a great day?! It was so much relieve from the norm.

After that we put our Christmas tree up, got dressed and headed to the movies. Yes the movies. I’ve heard of folks doing the movies on the holiday but I had never done it and it really came down to why not?! Why couldn’t we have a relaxed day with one another? So we did. We ended up seeing The Star which is about the birth of Jesus. I loved it. The kids were I really interactive with the movie and it made a great time. Also the soundtrack is amazing FYI!! And if you have younger kids like 3, they will be fine. It has enough action to keep them fully engaged. It also allowed my own 3 year old to ask questions afterwards too. It’s not stuffy and as an adult I would see it without the kids.

Oh and for another new thing we decided to have bacon wrapped turkey. I know a lot of folks that don’t eat pork and generally I do turkey bacon but this turkey was nothing short of amazing. You didn’t even need gravy for it!! FYI the below picture is before it was cooked before the holier than thou accuse me of not being able to cook. Don’t come for me today!!

We did go to my uncles house. This is my husband Uncle but he’s my uncle just the same. It’s always a great thing when in laws really become an extension of your own. He hosted dinner as he’s done many times before and it was a great time!!

One of the things my kids enjoyed was not having to wear dressy clothes and sit at the table. Shout out to the parents that had some of the best dressed kids including my nieces. We just opted against it this year! We instead kept it causal and cute!

We sit at the table for every last meal. We decided to have our breakfast dinner together in the living room. Why not?! The meaning of Thanksgiving is to be together and sometimes when you don’t sit at the table all year long you want to make this big production of gathering around the table once a year. Not us we do this year round so we flipped it this year. I saw some amazing spreads and beautiful tables and trust I am the queen of holiday flare but this was our casual comfy Year. I’ll hit it hard for next year….maybe.

I want to openly say how grateful I am for my own little family, extended family, amazing friends, and my followers!!!

Overall we came home and reflected and this year we really were able to combine a little of something for everyone. The kids enjoyed breaking a few rules and relaxing. The parents had great holiday drinks, good food and felt like it was the most relaxed Thanksgiving we have had in a long time. So cheers to making it our own and creating our own traditions along the way. I hope you too had a great day and a great rest of your weekend!! I know I will as I fix another plate!!

Another note if you’re able try to give unto others. I woke up to some amazing stories that I’ve been seeing online about some regulars community members spreading good cheer and love. The holidays is what it’s all about!

Thanksgiving Tips To Get Through

It’s here, it’s finally here.  The start of the holidays can begin.  For all of those that have been dreading this or those who welcome it, it’s time to go into full gear. With that said not everyone will be spending the holidays with the most accepting family or friends.  Honestly I would suggest to avoid drama to have a Friendsgiving meal instead of with family if the situation is toxic.  Life is too short to be arguing over the dinner table.  I would rather family be mad and get over it then to have to spend the holidays overwhelmed, angry, and then have this feeling stick with you for days.  This is not that I do not like family gatherings, I do but I am anti stress of any sorts regardless of the occasion.  In case you just can’t just not show up to a family gathering and you know there will unavoidable drama here are my tips to get you through:

  1. Have an exit plan. If you are traveling with others, make a code word. Something that only you and the ones you came in with know. Honor your sanity to know that you don’t have to spend a whole day, if after some time you are ready to roll, then do so.  You are grown.  Do NOT make up an excuse. Just simply be gracious, thank your host, and then leave.  If you have to make an excuse then you haven’t realized how grown you are.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Folks gon work your nerves. There’s no way around it. Be prepared for it.
  3. Don’t answer everything.  Sometimes we talk to much just to prove a point and why?  It’s not necessary.  You don’t have to be right.  There’s peace and letting folks play themselves.  It’s amazing the folks every holiday that got a word for YOUR life, but yet ain’t got one for their own. Less is best.
  4. As long as you’re not on alcoholic tendencies, grab a drink but don’t overdo it.  Two people tell the truth and that’s kids and drunk folks.  Loose lips sink ships.  So do not become so drunk that you allow your drunk muscles to speak for you.  This is when things go left and what you should have dealt with sober you try to deal with liquid courage.
  5. Bring a hostess gift.  Do you know the worst thing about the holidays is the part where folks talk about the ones who just come through with a plate but don’t ever bring anything to contribute.  Bring something.  Even if its momma house and she insist, slide momma a few dollars. Do something.
  6. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day.  Do not fall into the trap in putting more power in the day that you forget what the day is about.
  7. If things get heated, retreat, leave, walk away.  You know you are going to hear the same stories. the same drama, and the same everything, be prepared for it.
  8. Be realistic.  If you chalk it up to be more than what you know it will be, you will be the only one disappointed.
  9. Have some fun-yes with all of the stress to prepare the perfect meal, be the best host, or just avoid going to jail remember to have a little fun.  Play some games, enjoy that beverage, enjoy that piece of pie-enjoy!
  10. Do not bring anyone to someone else’s house without speaking with them beforehand.  No you can’t bring your new flavor of this week to the dinner.  We don’t want to meet them. No you can’t just bring a random dude to momma house. See them afterwards.  I know people want to bring them a tenderoni to the dinner but unless you clear it with the hoss, meet up for some after Thanksgiving night cap and leave it at that. If you don’t take heed the only tenderoni you gon have is some ricearoni or get hemmed up in a corner.  There are rules so know the rules before you go to someone’s house.
  11. For the single that get the when you getting married question, just be gracious. No matter what you say or do they gon ask.  You might as well deal.  If you are married and you get the whole, when are you having kids find a way to be gracious instead of mad.  If you feel the need to be a little bit more stern than do so but remember stern don’t have to be ignorant unless someone has asked you several times in the same night and won’t respect your no.
  12. If you are married or dating and you are going over your in-laws or future in-laws, take the cue in how to deal with their family from your mate or boo. Stop overstepping your boundaries. Everybody family ain’t saved and you might get a bite you wasn’t expecting.  Attempt to be respectful.  If you feel you can’t remove yourself.

I hope you all have a great holiday. It will take a cool down, being focused on what the holiday is about, having a plan of action, and removing yourself from stressful situations to do that.  Remember self-care sometimes means saying no, not over doing it, enjoying the moment and controlling your own responses.  Have a good one and keep these things in mind.

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Traditions Anyone?!

So before we throw ourselves into Christmas we have to enjoy Thanksgiving.  So what are some of the traditions or favorites that you and your family enjoy? I know I am turning into the graphic t-shirt aka fun shirt family.  I love, love anything that is unique with great sayings etc.  I just love them. I think it allows you to have a little fun and during the holidays, that’s the best part. So you know that means I am an Etsy fanatic.  Etsy is my go to for artist who can carry out my t-shirt design and so far I haven’t been let down.  Shout out to all of the independent artist.  Also if you have some great pieces especially if they are holiday related, shot me an email at toitimeblog@gmail.com I may just rock one of your pieces!

So outside of being the t-shirt gang, as I do coordinate our stuff too.  I have two options this year, so you will have to wait for my Thanksgiving Day update to find how I find ways to wear them both.  We just take it easy.  I know that some folks wear super fancy outfits and the kids look all spruced up, but for us being comfortable, relaxed, and clean is our goal.  We are here for the food and drinks.  We take in the day with allowing the kids to bake with me the day before. They love it. This year we are doing a peach bundt cake with cinnamon swirl from scratch.  I don’t always advertise but I am a little mini Betty Crocker.  I don’t sell my stuff but I really love to bake for therapeutic reasons.  It makes me feel so super calm. I get in my zone. We let the mini bakers in the kitchen with music on and we have a blast.

Charlie Brown anyone?

We ALWAYS watch Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special.  I do not care what else is on television it doesn’t matter what is going on, in our home Charlie Brown is king. This year it will air on November 22 at 8pm EST.  I will be glued to the television as if I have never seen it before.  We get into our coziest pjs and by that time whatever I have cooking I plan around so I can leave it doing its thing so I can sit with the kids and soak it in.  In case you just can’t wait or can’t catch it.  Here is your chance, Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Wine and Things

I am who Google was made for. I am the queen of research and between that and Pintrest I am always on the search for any great Fall or Thanksgiving drinks both non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.  I like to make something that is mocktail appropriate for my kids. No I am not pushing the kids to drink, but let’s face it kids are visual.  Having a special drink that looks cool scores big mom points. And you do realize that for me at least, it makes the day that more fun.  They are little, they won’t always be this little.  Anything where I can do fun stuff and enjoy them I do and will continue to do.

I am a wine lover.  I like wine and I am not ashamed so if nothing else one of this year’s t-shirt is super valid.  Yes that is one of my looks I got from Etsy and wine is life.  Don’t fool yourself to think you won’t catch me with a great white wine.  To get this great shirt maybe even for next year, you can catch it here, Tday shirt

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Pick up the phone

This year I am going to push for phone contact.  I mean the old school, pick up the phone and call folks.  So to my friends and family, be on the lookout. Even if folks don’t answer, I will be leaving my voice on voice mails. I love text messages, as they allow you to send messages and communicate with others but I love to hear how folks are doing. I have a situation happen where someone I loved recently texted and said they were fine, but in their voice they wasn’t.  Not that this is fool-proof but talking always you to gauge others better than just a simple text can ever do.

Decorating Time

My husband grew up where the tree was put up the day before Christmas.  I grew up where we did it before. I love the tradition of putting it up. To compromise we had it up but delayed it severely to accommodate both of us.  Since the holidays, we now put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving mostly because we needed to add a little happiness and joy in our home since the passing of my mother in law.  We will be doing the same as this is the second one we haven’t had her. It helps with the mood. the kids get super excited, and it allows me to be the biggest cornball ever as my mom calls it. I put on Christmas music, bake cookies that I have already made batches for, and we just dance, sing, and let the kids decorate their tree the way they want to. I try not to disturb their artistic ability.  Again I will have my own tree later, this is their tree.

So as you can we don’t do much.  We try to see as many family as we can. Other than we enjoy the time off, we enjoy each other, and we enjoy great food.  It is the holiday to remember how grateful you are for everything good and bad.  The bad helps you to be better so don’t despise the down times.  We all need a little water to grow!  I am grateful for my family, friends, my job, my life, and my followers!  So now is the time to make the holidays what you want them to be. I try not to make mine what others make theirs.  You can have a great time even if you spend it with a small group of folks or a large group.  Also remember especially if you are just forming your own family, the things you bring in along with who you share your life with don’t have to match.  Find ways to incorporate both sides.  It will make for a richer holiday season! You make it what you want it to be!